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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  July 20, 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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becomes a very big story, what we've tried to do during this hour of this show is provide the context so you at home can make your own decision as to who is right and who is possibly wrong. and i'm glad we've had a chance to talk to many of the players involved and bring them so that you can hear them out. there's one player we mentioned moments ago that is andrew brightmart. he will be on john king "usa today." my thanks to everybody who has been a part of this special report. here now "the situation room" and wolf blitzer. >> thanks very much, rick. happening now, it's officially three months since the massive rig exploded in the gulf of mexico. could a new option now be considered being a permanent fix? stand by. new information right now. two allies sitting down for the first time. will the looming crisis
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kennebunkport fine living amer
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this nightmare even before the relief wells are completed? >> wolf, a lot of talk and a lot of questions today about that static kill. it's a process by which bp would pump mud into the well, effectively killing that well and improving their odds once they finish the relief well. they say they're studying this idea, they're coming up with a plan and they'll present it to government scientists for final approval in the next coming days. at this point that static kill sounds a lot like the top kill procedure they used before, only this time it will be easier for them since the well is now shut in and the pressure is static.
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that's why they call it static kill. now they're looking at that option to give them the means to end this threat a little more quickly. here's what they had to say about it. >> what you're doing is you're putting mud down and you're not putting hydrocarbons into the formation. so the question would be at that point what that would tell you. we would have to analyze the data associated with that. if we thought there was a problem with well integrity we could at that point start going to containment or vent. but i think we need to have detailed discussions understanding what the actual procedures would be based on the results as they do that. discussions are under way right now. >> and while they haven't made a decision, admiral add lessen not having anything to say about the static kill. he says actually if they put the mud in there and find out that this well has a leak somewhere, that will actually help them in the days to come when they finally try that final kill and submit it with the relief kill.
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wolf? >> there's a huge fine bp will have to pay for all the oil went out. here's the question, are they going to have to reopen that well to determine precisely the flow rate in order to assess how much bp owes the federal tax payers? >> admiral allen talking about that very thing today, saying that is one of the big decisions on his plate he has to work through. right now they're looking at ways they can possibly determine an accurate flow rate using temperature readings they're learning now, pressure readings they're learning now to help them get an accurate flow rate f. they can't do that, the option of possibly opening this well back up so they can actually count the number of barrels per hour that come out of there, that is still on the table. they haven't reached a decision on that yet. >> what's the latest on the wae
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house as british prime minister. what was fascinating to watch is how comfortable these two leaders are together. it was not like president obama and former prime minister gordon brown. it brings up questions whether this is going to make a difference and looking forward with the bp spill. weather there will be justice for lockerbie bombing victims and whether this means the war in afghanistan will wrap up any faster. they called each other about a ra barack and david. >> the u.s. has no stronger partner than great britain. >> reporter: but the bp oil leak in the gulf coast test thad alliance. oil giant british petroleum continues to wreak of havoc.
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>> i completely understand the anger that exists. the oil spill a catastrophe. >> reporter: and growing controversy whether bp had the role in a release of ali muhammad. >> releasing a mass murderer of 270 people, the largest act of terrorism ever committed in the united kingdom, was completely wrong. so in my view, neither should that killer have been given that luxury. that wasn't a decision taken by bp. it was taken by the scottish government. >> reporter: he was convicted in the 1988 pan am 103 bombing over lockerbie scotland that killed 270 people, mostly americans. the scottish government released him on compassionate grounds after doctors said he had terminal prostate cancer and just three months to live. president obama said that was a mistake, and cameron agreed. cameron said he would provide information for a u.s. congressional investigation but
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didn't think the uk needed to pursue one of its own. both leaders pledged their commitment to the afghanistan war, glossing over any differences over how soon to pull out troops. today, it was mostly big smiles. jokes about the beers they shared after uk and u.s. tied in the world cup. >> while at the world cup, our teams could only manage a score draumpt i believe our relationship can be a win-win. >> reporter: and even admiration for president obama's children. >> i was most impressed by how tidy your children's bedrooms were. >> reporter: wolf, for the british prime minister, it really was a delicate balancing act. obviously on the one hand showing empathy and sympathy for the victims of the bp oil spill. at the same time not allowing americans to villify the company that is so important economically to both countries. >> that clearly was underscored today, suzanne. thank you. her resignation is raising new questions about the politics of race in america.
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a former african-american government employee judged unfairly by the obama administrati administration? we're doing fact-checking for you. plus, a controversial new ad slamming plans for an islamic community center and mosque near ground zero in new york. we'll talk to the producer. and cnn exclusive. our own amber lyon in a navy blimp with a firsthand look at the oil disaster. right here in "the situation room." light options, i can find the combination that gets me there and back quickest. where you book matters. expedia.
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wolf, after weeks of haggling the senate is a step closer to extending unemployment benefits. two republicans joined the democrats in breaking the gop filibuster against extending the benefit the through november. republican leaders had earlier blocked votes several times. they argued that any benefit extension should be offset by spending cuts. the nation is heading down the road to insolvency, in case you didn't notice. we're $13 trillion in debt. another $34 billion will simply be added to the deficit. president obama tore into the republicans ahead of this vote. he argued that they were operating on a misguided notion that a new bill would discourage people from looking for work. mr. obama said the unemployed are not looking for a handout, that they desperately want to work. the president described the gop as hypocrites for voting under
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president bush but not now. republicans insist it's all about fiscal responsibility. they say they're not against unemployment benefits. they will support the bill but only if it's paid for. 2.5 million americans have run out of unemployment benefits since the deadline passed in june. the national unemployment rate hovering just below 10%. a lot of experts say it's going to stay high well into next year. between the states and the federal government, it's now possible to collect unemployment benefits for 99 weeks. that's almost two years. so here's the question, should unemployment benefits be extended without a way to pay for them? go to cnn.com/cafferty file and post comment on my blog. wolf? >> let's get back to the critical first meeting between the newly elected british prime minister david cameron and the president today t. david, thanks very much for coming in. i'm going to play a little clip
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of what cameron said at this joint news conference with the president. whether there needs to be another investigation of scotland or the british government's decision, i should say, to release the convicted lockerbie bomber to libya. >> i didn't need an inquiry to tell me what was a bad decision. it was a bad decision. and if you like the big fact that's changed over the year that makes it an even worse decision is the fact that he is still free in libya rather than serving the prison sentence in scotland as he should be doing. >> supposedly he had only three months to live but he's doing rather well as a freeman some libya right now. what do you think of the way the two leaders, the president and the british prime minister, are dealing with this sensitive issue? >> clearly this was a botched decision by the scottish government. and the question does linger,
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did bp pressure the scottish government into trading off this bomber in order to get oil contracts in libya? and i think chuck schumer and both senators from new york and from new jersey or most of the victims of course came from those two states. they have every reason to press forward for a congressional investigation certainly into what the particulars were about bp's relationship with that decision by the scottish government. because so clearly he was release odd humanitarian grounds because he was going to die. here he is a year later, he's flourishing and leading a hero's life. americans have a right to be outraged about that and get to the bottom of it. >> what happens to realizes if the scottish government and the british government, for that matter, don't provide the documents, the information that this senate inquiry wants to get? >> well, i understand why -- i think david cameron was, he was turning out to be, by the way, a
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very good prime minister. he was deft at saying blame bp for the oil spill but let's not go overboard saying they went wrong on the decision with the scottish government. we like to get the facts. scottish government withholds the facts. this relationship is very important to both countries. the president and the prime minister got off to a great start. you'll see. i think they got off to a very good start today. >> yeah. it looked like all the body language, everything they were saying about each other is very positive. although this issue of bp could throw a monkey's wrench into that uk/u.s. relationship. >> americans don't trust bp now anyway. but this is a particular sore issue. we lost a lot of people in that bombing. yes, scotland had jurisdiction. yes, the scottish government made the decision. but america has the right to understand what happened. and it does seem to me congress
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to push forward on an investigation and let's get to the bottom of this is worthwhile and the right thing to do. >> all right. david, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> we continue to follow up on this story. what a difference a day makes. yesterday, allegations of racism. today a white farmer comes to the defense of the african-american government official who was fired for supposedly not helping him. you're going to hear his response and a lot more. stand by. and will there be a permanent ban on drilling for oil off the florida coast? there's been a decision at least for now. we'll talk about that and much more with one of the men who wants to be florida's next u.s. senator, marco rubio, the republican candidate. he's here in "the situation room." ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours.
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what do you, lisa? >> hi, wolf. this weekend the co korean. large-scale exercises with the south koreas that defense secretary robert gates says will improve readiness and send a signal to north korea. 8,000 u.s. army and navy personnel will take place with 20 ships and 200 aircraft. this comes four months after an international investigation blamed north korea for sinking a south korean warship that killed 46 sailors. lawmakers in florida are in a special session without accomplishing what the governor had hoped.
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he hoped to set up a permanent drilling ban off the florida coastline. governor crist wanted to make it a proposed constitutional amendment that voters could vote on this november. supreme court no, ma'am lee elena kagan cleared approval from the senate judiciary committee and picked up one republican opponent, lindsay gram of south carolina. he was the lone republican on the committee to support sonia sotomayor last year. full senate is expected to vote early next month. government officials in the united kingdom have decided 11,000 pages of tax code, well, that is just too much. so they have launched the office for tax simplification. taxes there are too complicated. making the system less competitive than it should be. they hope similar nikz will attract more foreign business. >> we can do some simplification here as well. that would be nice, don't you
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think? >> i think a lot of people would agree with that one. >> lisa, stand by. i know you're working on a growing story. did the obama administration judge an african-american government employee without having all the facts? lisa is doing a fact check for us on a kocontroversial new ad r a mosque at ground zero. quote, celebration of the americans killed on 9/11. [ male announcer ] if you've had a heart attack caused by a completely blocked artery,
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it's a growing, growing political controversy now raising new questions about the politics of race in america. were both the owe ban ma administration and naacp simply too quick to judge an african-american employee after a videotape surfaced linking her to racially charged comments? she said her words were taken totally out of context. we asked lisa sylvester to do fast checking for us. >> reporter: wolf, this is a story with so many twists and turns. naacp sharply criticizing shirley sherrod saying it was appalled by her actions but later in the day announcing it would take a closer look. here's part of the youtube clip that set off the firestorm.
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>> reporter: usda official surely sherrod admit anything remarks at an naacp she does d not do everything she could to help a white farmer. she took him i to a white lawyer so his own kind would take care of him. naacp called her actions shameful and her bosses at the department of agriculture forced her to resign. were they quick to judge? she said yes. >> no, i did not discriminate against him. i went all out. i had to frantically look for a lawyer at the last minute because the first lawyer we went to was not doing anything to really help him. >>reporter: we did fact checking. the incident in question happened more than two decades ago. sherrod was not working for the government at the time, but a nonprofit called the federation of southern cooperatives land
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assistance fund. and the internet clips were heavily edited. and what about not helping the white farmer because he seemed to have a, quote, superior attitude? he credits her for helping to save the farm. >> surely did. i give her all the credit. >> reporter: so why did she say the things that she did? sherrod said in her speech she was reflecting on the past, the moment when she realized black and white farmers were facing the same plight. >> this was my first time dealing with -- having a white farmer save his land. i wasn't really sure what i could do. because at that time i thought they had the advantages. i learned that that was not the case in working with this farmer. >> reporter: the head of the nonprofit where sherrod worked for more than two decades said over the years she has helped all kinds of people.
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>> she is not a racist. she did not discriminate against the woman and the family that she helped. and this was 26 years ago. shirley's always been a very dedicated person, dedicated to helping people. and that regards to race, color, clan, or whatever. >> reporter: but the usda is not backing down, citing its zero tolerance policy. >> when i saw the statement and the context of the statements, i determined that it would make it difficult for her to do her job as rural development director and it would compromise us to close a chapter on civil rights cases. i didn't want to jeopardize her job in terms of getting people to work in georgia. >> reporter: now one person who attended the naacp freedom banquet which was the mayor, who is white. she told us that there were no
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mumblings in the community afterwards about it being a racist speech. she said, in fact, she has interacted and dealt with shirley sherrod on several occasions and that sherrod treated people fairly. wolf? >> lisa, thank you. our two cnn political contributors, donna brazile and republican strategist mary matlin. let me go to you, donna. first, was shirley sherrod treated fairly by the obama administration? >> no. first of all, wolf, i listeneded to the tape. i took time-out today to listen to the entire tape, unedited, in context. and i can tell you that her statement was taken out of context. this is a woman who gave a very moving speech about her own experience growing up in the deep south, about her father being murdered, decisions she had to make as a young girl
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about staying in the south and she would stay and help people. she went to say her life was not about black examine white but haves and have notes. one day this man mr. spooner came in asking for help. now, i agree that she words she used to describe the man perhaps were not the right words. when you look to her speech and the spooners, she went out of herm way to help this man save his farm. listen to the entire speech. naacp will put it on its website along with a news statement. and i hope this clears up some of the controversy. >> are they going to change their mind? you heard the agriculture secretary doubling down. he said we made the right decision forcing this woman to resign. what about the naacp? they made a statement last night that seemed to suggest she should go as well. >> everyone reacted because
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someone deliberately put an edited tape out on the internet and scorned this woman, smeared her good name before listening to the entire tape. if you saw the statement out of context, i understand why the government and the naacp may have overreacted. but listen to the tape. we all make mistakes. in our own experiences we've made bad statements. but mrs. sherrod deserves an opportunity to express herself. she's done that today. we should listen to the tape before coming to judgment. they should have placed her on administrative leave. i don't speak for the government or the obama administration. i just listened to the tape. may god continue to bless her and her family, as well as the spooners. >> mary, what do you think about all of this? was this woman unfairly smeared? >> the government slanted her. the naacp slanted her just like the tea party people. this hurling around of charges of racism where it doesn't exist. you know, of all the things that donna and i don't agree on, we
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certainly have sought and received forgiveness for things we said a quarter century ago. we believe in forgiveness, in healing, redemption. and this woman's story has got to be true. i went and did what donna did, looked at it before opining on it. the evidence is true. she was a healer. the spooners to this day, and on this day, said she wasn't racist. it was her efforts that helped them keep their farm. they're friends to this day and feel terrible about it. we have to stop this. we have to stop hurling around the charges for my cal purposes. somebody i have admired though not agreed with is mary said to charge them with racism is preferable than joblessness. we must stop. we have a disputably horrific history in this country. but donna and i are working on
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things. this has got to stop. it's got to stop now. naacp and the administration and everybody has to stop. >> we cannot just put the naacp and obama administration -- what the naacp, repudiate all of it. it has to stop. we have to brought line. >> donna, what she said earlier today with tony harris, shirley sherrod, she said got the call, the third call from her manager, deputy undersecretary of agriculture, saying pull over to the side of the road and you've got to resign right now because they're worried at the white house about what glenn beck might say on fox news. it sounded pretty amazing to me, but i don't suspect this woman, shirley sherrod, would make up something like that. >> you know, wolf, i don't know. i wasn't on the call. i can tell you this much. we are overreacting to what we hear and see on the enter knit without getting the facts and looking into the person's record
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or background. what we have seen and what we have heard today from some of the people from that area. people that work with her tells me she's a good, christian woman. >> do you buy the story, mary, that the white house is putting out and tom vilsack, secretary of agriculture, is putting out that this was strictly his decision, he had no input from the white house officials, it was his decision to force this woman to resign? >> well, it doesn't matter because he's acting in a kul customer that the obama white house is perpetrating. this president could, he should, and he promised he would get us past racism. and at every turn, where there's a teaching moment, he has had a backwards reaction. from the summit in gates to this. the white house should call kill vac and say, look, we want there's zero tolerance but there's no evidence that she has done anything remotely discriminatory in her job at the
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usda. stop it. this is a teaching moment which this president promised he would take advantage of. >> all right. >> and he isn't. what's the story? >> what do you want the president of the united states to do to fix this right now, donna? >> absolutely nothing. absolutely nothing. president obama is president of all of the american people. and i would hope that mr. vilsack and those who are responsible, the regional commissioner, office of civil rights, i tried to call the office of civil rights, the department of agriculture. reopen this case. read the speech. listen to her words. do not just summarily fire this woman simply because you saw something on the internet. not when you saw the spooners come out today and said she told them to go to americus. i'll go there and help you save your land. listen to it. some of her words clearly will 24 years ago. we said some things -- i know i've said some things and i've
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asked for forgiveness. please, let us all find ways to work together. we can't solve our problems by saying the president of the united states is responsible for making things better. it starts with all of us. >> donna brazile reaching out to vilsack to rethink his position. we're going to invite him to join us, see if he wants to join us on the phone and see if he will react, donna, to your powerful words. thanks very much. mary, thanks to you as well. we'll be all over this story in the next hour as well. it's been six days since the gusher in the gulf was kafd. how have has the oil spread? we're on the scene on the boat, in the beach and in a blimp. stand by. the newest and youngest u.s. senator tried to fill the shoes of the late robert byrd. how did goodwin do? and iranian nuclear scientists who claims to have been kidnapped from the united states. now there's word of a movie deal. what's going on? tdd# 1-800-345-2550 what if every atm was free?
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♪ ♪ when you have a different perspective on things you don't end up with just another car. you end up with a saab. with 3g as well.blays n ancan stream livdeo to t web.
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firshaan hdmi out.♪ rst shar wi-fi with 8 devic at ce. rst is notteen fur firshaan hdmi out.♪ pledunder in al hous firswh will do firsthing. with e, e rs4g? firshaan hdmi out.♪ ly fm rint,thnone deafhaand opitspee dit access www.sprinty midterm elections are only a few months away, a little more than 100 days or so. couple of hard-hitting web videos have just been released and they're hittinged administration of the president barack obama against the policies of the former president george w. bush. our senior political analyst is here to tell us a little bit about some of these new ads.
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let's play part of the first web video from the dnc. >> we need to go back to the exact same agenda. >> that put big oil, insurance companies ahead of wall street. >> the exact same agenda. >> championed by george w. bush. >> with no new ideas, republicans are going. >> back to the exact same agenda. >> all right. that's a pretty tough ad. >> well, you know, congressman sessions today, by the way, said what he was referring to was a business roundtable report which said that the president needs to engage the business community. but that doesn't matter. because the democrats are going to be hitting on this, wolf, because they want to refrain the debate at the midterm election. usually midterm elections are a referendum on the president. they want to turn it into a choice between barack obama's policies and the policies of, you go the it, george w. bush.
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and they think, look, it worked for them in 2006. it worked for them in 2008. why not try it a third time? >> will it work in 2010? >> well, you know, there's a big assumption here, and that is the assumption that people believe that a republican congress would return to the policies of the former president. and a democratic firm just recently did a poll on this, wolf, in which they found out that only one of four people actually believe that that's the case. they believe a republican congress would pursue its own policies. >> now, the republican candidate fort u.s. senate in missouri has this to say. i'll play it for our viewers. >> july 8, 2010, barack obama's raising monday for robin carnahan. why? >> i need another vote. it would be helpful. >> he knows robin will rubber stamp the agenda. >> republican candidate for the u.s. senate in missouri. >> right. >> what do you think about that? >> we're used to hearing about nancy pelosi and harry reid, but
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we haven't heard a lot of ads talking about barack obama. because of course right now barack obama still remains personally popular. this is an interesting ad we ought to keep an eye on. of course it's run anything a swing state, missouri. blunt does have a republican primary but he's the overwhelming favorite right now. if this ad succeeds in raising carnahan negatives, you might see republicans starting to lump in the president with re id and pelosi. that's something they might think will be effective in the future. we have to keep an eye on it. if it works for him other people will try it. >> pelosi, very popular. this will be effective nationally? >> well, we'll have to see. this is a good test case because missouri is such an important swing state. and if it's effective in missouri and he continues to use it in the general and it works, you're going to see it in a lot of other states. as i say, so goes missouri, so goes the country. >> the president lost missouri
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barely, but he did become president of the united states. >> but mostly. >> but mostly missouri is, that's correct. thank you, gloria. a mosque near ground zero. the producer of a provocative ad said islam celebrates the 9/11 attacks. now that the massive oil spill has been stopped, at least for now, where's the oil? we have reporters on the scene, on the water, and in the air. this site has a four-star hotel for $159. should i try priceline instead? >> no it's a sale. nothing beats a sale! wrong move! you. you can save up to half off that sale when you name your own price on priceline. but this one's a deal...trust me.
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a place of peace or monument celebrating 9/11 terror attacks on the united states. our senior correspondent talks to the producer of a provocative
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tv ad that opposes building an islamic holy site in the shadow of ground zero. >> reporter: scott wheeler turned his passion for political ads into a campaign against an islamic center and mosque near ground zero. he wrote and produced the ad, but he's been unable to sell it. have a look and you'll see it's anything but subtle. ♪ nbc and cbs turned down this ad posing a mosque near ground z o zero. >> and to celebrate that murder of 3,000 americans, they want to build a monstrous 13-story mosque at ground zero. >> reporter: those are the words of ad producer scott wheeler. >> we know that in the past muslims have established mosques at locations where they want to declare dominion. >> reporter: he served a year and a half in the army and runs a small political action committee, national republican trust pact.
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no full time staff. when he learned about plans to build an islamic community center including a mosque two blocks north of ground zero, he said he had to send a warning. a mosque would be a victory for the terrorists. >> the people establishing this facility, you think they're celebrating the murder of 3,000 people? >> i think so. >> how are they celebrating? >> reporter: by erecting a mosque to their martyrs which they have traditionally done all over the world. >> reporter: he claims they are the 19 hijackers of the 19 planes. >> you can also look how many muslims see mosques. they see them as military barracks. >> well, they call them. >> reporter: this building has to function as a prayer space since last fall. for the friday mid-day prayer, the most important for muss lips, this place is packed with more than 400 worshippers.
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those just a handful who come on most days, say wheeler's claims are outrageous. >> it's tremendously offensive that anyone would make an attempt to associate myself, who is a proud american, whose family served as first responders. >> reporter: waiting for approval from new york's landmarks commission to erect a new building here, say their intent is to provide a community center that can improve realizes with nonmuslims. but scott wheeler, who is using the ad controversy to raise funds for his pact, explain there is a connection to the 2001 attack. >> reporter: can you show us any roof that the people behind this community center have ties to al qaeda? >> i think there's proof in the media already. why do you keep asking about al qaeda? i said we don't know. >> reporter: weren't they behind
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9/11? he may not have proof they are behind it but he does have some supporters. new yorkers are opposed to a mosque near ground zero. should unemployment benefits be extended without a way to pay for them? that's jack cafferty's question. stand by for your e-mail.
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jack is back with the cafferty file. jack? >> the question this hour is should unemployment benefits be extended without a way to pay for them? mike in sonoma, california, says that republicans have no problem extending the tax cuts without paying for them which would increase the deficit to a far greater degree. from their perspective, it is okay to give more money to the top 1% who don't need it, but not to help the bottom 99% which frequently does really need help through no fault of their own. mark writes i think it is about time that we draw the line on unemployment benefits at 99 weeks. enough is enough. especially given the fact that democrats have not found way to pay for the benefits other than tacking them on to the massive debt. studies have proven that extending unemployment benefits merely extends the duration of the unemployment as people become less motivated to find a job. george writes, yes, the benefits only increase the debt by a small increment, and glad to read that the republicans want to reduce the deficit. i am sure that the gop does not
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want to waste time and energy on such small potatoes as unemployment benefits and waiting for their major plan to cut the defense budget from 800 billion to 500 billion per year. still waiting. carl writes, nobody wants people to go hungry, but the anecdotal evidence is that people with six mons' unemployment coming don't run out the door, but look at it as a breathe r and why not take advantage of a program they have paid into and then with a month or two left, they look in earnest. and larry says there are areas of cutback to pay for this and to not apply them is criminal. to get the people in obamaland to the point where they have no choice but to rely on the government. most people are intelligent to understand what is taking place here, and it is socialism, and we are headed down that path. cindy says from new jersey, jack, ask somebody who has no food to put on the table through no fault of their own.
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i would guess they would say yes. if you want to read more about this, i have a lot of e-mail, and go to my blog cnn.com/caffertyfile. they start to work for a job in earnest. do you know where that is? earnest? >> no. thank you, jack. prowling the skies looking for oil on the water. you will get a blimp's eye view. standby. and a official is sacked over allegations of discrimination. she is fighting back, and donna brazile is supporting her against accusations from the obama administration. what is going on here? you are going to be hearing her side of the story coming up. to n every new 2010 cadillac model. like the cts sport sedan. the most acclaimed vehicle in its class and a "car and driver" 10 best, three years in a row. or the all new cadillac srx luxury crossover. and even the most acclaimed luxury suv ever, the cadillac escalade. summer brings out the best in all of us. hurry in to get 0% apr financing on every new 2010 cadillac
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the communities along the gulf coast are dealing with a double whammy. first hurricane katrina and now the bp oil disaster, but our tom foreman has been prowling the mississippi coastline looking for small businesses that are building up america, and he has found one. tom? >> well, you know, wolf, the number one question in any tourist location is where's a good restaurant? and that is always true on the coast where the answer used to always be, well, down on the beach. just ride along and you will
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find something. not so much anymore. but, some people here are really trying to change that. >> reporter: the trapani restaurant has great cooks and loyal customers and the owners are dedicated, hard-working. >> these crab cakes right here with no bread in them whatsoever. >> reporter: but situated far from the water they lack one thing, location, location, location. >> this place needs to be on the beach. this whole area is all about boating and fishing and everything, and now we are doing okay, but we can't stay here forever. we have to move back to that beach in order to help the community out. >> reporter: for a dozen years the trapani's place was right on the waterfront and they had lots of company. the whole area out here was filled with businesses. >> right. >> businesses, and all of this was businesses, and that was a coffee shop. >> reporter: plenty of restaurants have opened since a katri
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katrina, and there are more on the coast than before the storm, but they are building inland and not on the water and especially not now with the danger of oily tides in the mix. so, the hospitality and restaurant association is offering class for expanding promotion plans to attract customers, all because they know they need businesses on the beach to build up their part of the gulf. >> it is like having a wheel with all of the gears in it. you have the little sprockets going around and if one of those goes, you start to slip like this. and then, you know, it kind of goes down. >> reporter: you need them all? >> we need them all. >> reporter: the trapanis have made up their mind, they will break ground soon where katrina took them down and the oil still threatens. why is it so important for you to be back here? >> well with, we always knew that was a piece of the puzzle that we can replace to bring back this community. >> we with are determined to
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rebuild this beach. >> reporter: because they are convinced that if they build it not only customers, but other businesses will come, too. it is a really simple equation, everyone knows that when the tourists come to the shore, they want to be on the shore. that's why this push goes on, wolf to, get more businesses back on the beach. >> and you are in "the situation room." happening now, a usda official forced to resign over racially-charged remarks she made decades ago, and remarks she says were taken totally out of context. this hour, the raging controversy and exclusive reaction from her now former boss, the agriculture secretary tom vilsack, and by blimp and by boat, an exclusive look at the gulf oil disaster as the experts weigh an option to provide a permanent fix. and oil's impact on the florida senate race, and does the republican candidate marco rubio still support offshore oil drilling? i will ask him. we want to welcome our
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viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com let's open up a new chapter in the gulf oil disaster and now bp and the federal government have decided to extend the integrity test for the new well cap for another 24 hours. for six days it has kept oil from leaking into the gulf and giving experts time to consider a more permanent fix called a static kill which is designed to end the threat once and for all. we go to cnn's david mattingly who is monitoring this from new orleans. david, this new procedure could be risky, though? >> well, wolf, there is no green light yet. bp still drawing up the plans. they still have to pitch it to the unified command, but right now, a lot of positive things being said about this static kill. they would pump mud into the
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well with, and they would have more success this time filling in the well with mud which would allow them to kill this well sooner. but, they still have a ways to go in terms of the planning right now. admiral thad allen not having anything bad to say about it, and said, even if they put the mud in there and find that there is a leak, that will be valuable information, as they move forward with that relief well. so, at this point, everyone is looking to see if this could the next weapon in the arsenal to finally kill this well. >> sounds a lot like the top kill that did not work out so well many weeks ago, and what is the difference? >> well, there is a huge difference here, because the top kill involved a cap that was open at the top. remember, we saw huge clouds of mud billowing out the top of the well, and they couldn't build up enough pressure to force that mud down and keep it down in the well. with this closed system, they will be able to pump that mud in there, and using less pressure than they did before, and they have a higher rate of confidence
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here to think that they can actually drown this well now with that mud, and in tandem with drilling the relief well. the two things working together, wolf, they think they will end this thing quickly and without it, we are looking at days, possibly weeks after the relief well is finished. >> they have to end it quickly, because there is now fear that weather could be changing and not necessarily for the good. >> everyone watching that storm system that is moving to florida right now could mess up a lot of things on the surface, and raise some questions for what is below, and here is what admiral allen had to say. >> i believe they have a reconnaissance flight scheduled for tomorrow to learn more about it. the probability is low at this time that there would be, winds that could impact the well site and that could change and develop over the next few days. obviously, we are watching that very, very closely. in association with that, we will continue the talk with bp and make sure that whatever stage we are in, that we have assessed how long it will take us to complete whatever element
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of work, whether it is putting the casing in for the relief well or the static kill or the containment options and how it relates to the time lines of when to expect gayil-force wind. >> and wolf do, they have enough confidence in the well to keep it closed if a hurricane comes up? they are testing and they say they don't want offer up an answer right now. >> dave mattingly is in new orleans. thank you very much. joining us now from aboard a blimp is cnn's amber lyon and not far away, but considerably closer to the gulf of mexico is rob marciano who is on a boat watching what is going on. amber, what are you seeing from your vantage point up there about this oil disaster? >> well, wolf, we are about, i'd say 500 feet above the gulf of mexico, and so far we have been flying around here for several hours.
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we haven't seen any big slicks of oil. our crew says that sometimes around sunset, they will start to see a light sheen across the water, but we haven't seen anything like that here so far. something that has stood out in our minds is that if you take a look at the beautiful white beaches, we haven't seen a lot of tourists, and been a lot of empty lawn chairs and umbrellas, and in addition to that, the reason the coast guard is using this blimp in watching, we are just gliding along here on the gulf of mexico, and that allows the spotters who ride on this blimp to get a clear view of the water, and to check for any injured wildlife and we have been check out the boom, and making sure it is all in order and none of it is damaged. and keeping an eye out for oil that we haven't been seeing. in addition to that, wolf, it is interesting, because this blimp only uses about 10 gallons of fuel an hour. and now, don't we all wish our cars could travel like that?
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now, that is in if you look at the coast guard helicopters also flying out here surveying the oil, they use about 150 gallons of fuel an hour, so this is definitely more efficient. and i think that another thing about this is we had the thermometer and i can't find it right now -- here we go, it says that the index in this blimp is 105 degrees, so it has been a very hot ride for several hours, and in addition to that, there is no restroom on the blimp, so you are kind of debating, okay, do i hydrate myself or not? wolf. >> standby, amber. rob marciano and i know you can talk to him from your vantage point, but rob, we see the blimp over your shoulder from where you are, and do you see oil in the water from your much closer vantage point? >> well, not in this immediate area. earlier in the day, we did get into some sheen, and there were two vessels of opportunity that surrounded that sheen with some
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absorbent boom and cleaned that space up. you may see us rocking and rolling here and the seas are rough today, wolf. and actually, so rough now to where they are beginning to call off skimming operations that are around this area. we get to a point where when it is too rough, the skimmers are not as effective. i will tell you what is effective though is that thing right there where amber is and the guys up there reconning this air space and water space here and it is a huge, huge tool in the arsenal now to combat this oil spill. up to 500 feet, you can see so much more than you can see down here on this skimmer. even in the larger skimmers where you have taller towers to get on top of and you can see better now, it is still no comparison to what that can do. so what has been happening is that amber's team up there, and the commanders up there, and the spotters are searching and looking and radioing down to our boat. this boat which is called
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"s.e.c. "zeke's lady" on any other day is a commercial boat to take people out to fish for snapper, but now it is a command vessel in the skimming operation today, and telling other vessels what to do based on what that blimp is telling us. so a great asset into this battle that will continue to go on for weeks to come here, and the lucky thing is that we have not seen a whole lot today. and one reason for that, wolf, we have to stay a couple of miles away from the shore. and it is one of the handcuffs that we have to put on the team today so that we can illustrate exactly what they are doing, and it is quite a special thing for sure. >> and cleanup will continue not just weeks, but months and years down the road. rob marciano in the boat, and amber lyon up in the blimp. guys, thank you very much. the impact of the oil disaster is spreading rapidly. the federal government says that 620 miles of gulf coast are now
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oiled. louisiana is the hardest hit with 355 miles of oiled coast. mississippi with 111 miles and alabama 69 miles, and florida has 87 miles of oiled coast. all right. a major reversal coming in from the naacp, in a statement just released by the president and ceo benjamin todd jealous, and the statement saying that this woman who used to work until at least yesterday for the u.s. department of agriculture, an african-american woman should not have been fired by tom sill sa -- tom vilsack, the secretary of agriculture and among the other things in the statement, saying this, having reviewed the full tape by shir ri sherrod, who is the woman who was fired by the department of agriculture, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned
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in this story, we now believe that the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of americans, and the fact is that she did help the white farmers in the speech, and they personally credit her with helping to save the family farm, and the naacp going on the say that according to the usda, and the u.s. department of agriculture, sherrod's statement prompted her dismissal and we understand why secretary vilsack thinks this will impede her role, we urge him to reconsider. the naacp in a statement now reversing itself urging the department of agriculture, the obama administration, to take another look at this woman's case, and appealing to obama administration to reverse this decision, and let this woman continue to work at the department of agriculture. a lengthy statement, and we will digest this statement, and have a lot more of what is going on. we will also hear later this hour from the secretary of
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agriculture tom vilsack, and what he has to say about shirley sherrod in her own words. >> administration did not -- they were not interested in hearing the truth. no one wanted to hear the the truth. >> she was forced from her government job over remarks she made almost a quarter century ago, and now she is speaking out along with the couple she is accused of discriminating against, and they are on her side. much more coming up on this story that has generated so much commotion. he is the country's newest senator and youngest senator and on the first day in office, one of the busiest, and casting a crucial vote for democrats. and the man who wants to be florida's next u.s. senator, republican marco rubio, and would he join a tea party congressional caucus? i will ask him.
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jack cafferty is here with the cafferty file. jack? >> well, wolf, that debate over a proposed mosque near ground sero keeps heating up. new york mayor michael bloomberg is firing back against sarah palin who called upon new yorkers to refudiate which is a made up word by her, against the mosque. she called it an unnecessary provocation that stabs hearts. bloomberg says that she has a right to her opinion, but he could not disagree more adding
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quote that everything that the united states stands for and new york stands for is tolerance and openness, unquote. even before palin decided to wade into this with her own language, the issue has stirred a lot of controversy and passion here in new york city. some relatives of the 9/11 victims say it would be like a monument for the terrorists or a sacrilege on sacred ground, and local republican politicians are calling for an investigation of how the center would be financed and also raising questions about the views of the leader. opponents are hoping to get the city's landmarks commission to protect the current structure which would thus block the mosque project from going forward, but supporters insist that the mosque would represent the voice of moderate muslims, and they say it is meant to improve relations between islam and the west, and add that the location only steps away from ground zero shows how important religious freedom is in this country. some 9/11 families also support
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the mosque saying that there is no better symbol of tolerance an inclusion. besides the mosque the proposed $100 million community center would stand 13 stories tall. it would include a gym, a swimming pool, and performing space which would be open to anyone. here's the question then, is it a good idea to build a mosque near ground zero? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, and post a comment on my blog. no shortage of opinions among new yorkers on just about anything, but this one has a lot of people fired up. >> yeah, i know they do, jack. good question. and senate democrats meanwhile put 2.5 million americans one step closer to having the unemployment benefits restored today. and the deciding vote was cast by the newest and the youngest u.s. senator hart goodwin of west virginia. our congressional correspondent brianna keilar has more on the young u.s. senator. brianna? >> well, wolf, it is interesting because in terms of seniority, he is 100 out of 100, and yet he
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was undeniably, the most important senator on the hill today. >> reporter: his first hours on capitol hill, learning the ropes from the now senior senator from west virginia, jay rockefeller. and soon after, the 36-year-old who has never before held public office was sworn in. >> so, help you god. >> so help me god. >> congratulations. >> reporter: and now the youngest senator, he replaces robert byrd who was the old nest the senate until his death last month. after another ceremonial swearing in, and this one punctuated by joe biden's humor. now, who is that lovely lady? >> my mom. >> your mom or your sister? >> your mom. >> reporter: it was time for serious business, his first vote to vote on extension of unemployment benefit, and republicans facing a filibuster could not have passed it without mr. goodwin's vote.
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>> mr. goodwin? mr. goodwin, aye. >> reporter: later flanked by top democrats he took the first political test, staying on message. >> senator, with the support of the vote, you also supported adding $34 billion to the deficit, are you comfortable with that? >> obviously, the deficit is important for everyone to address. imit is important that this is a temporary measure which is so needed for millions of americans, and 12,000 hard-working west virginiians as they look for work in an environment where there are nearly five unemployed workers vying for every job. >> reporter: now the senate democrats could be looking on a vote to pass this final measure for unemployment benefits tonight. and the house democrats could vote on this tomorrow, but for how instrumental carte goodwin was on this issue, he is only expected to be a senator, and only will be a senator for a few
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months, ba tluz ecause there is special election for byrd's seat, and goodwin will not be running for that. >> the governor will run for that. >> that is right. >> at the death, robert byrd was 56 years older than carte goodwin and the largest age gap between a senator and his or her replacement. in fact, when goodwin was born, byrd had been in congress for 22 years and married for 37 years. goodwin was just 3 years old when byrd was senate majority leader for the first time in 1977. among the many changes during byrd's long senate career, it was the salary of $22,000 a year when he started and now it is more than $169,000 a year. her resignation is sparking a bitter, bitter controversy. you will hear why a former african-american government employee says that the white house is partly to blame for what has happened to her. and he is battling florida's governor to become the next senator. my interview with the gop
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candidate marco rubio is coming up as well. ccccccccccccccccccccc
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lisa sylvester is monitoring other top stories in "the situation room" right now, and lisa, what have you got? >> well, israel is setting up an anti-missile system, and the white house is asking congress to pay for part of it. the white house is seeking $200 million to help fund the security system that is designed to protect israel from short-range missile and rocket attacks. it is expected to be in place by
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november, as part of a larger defense system that includes protection from mid-and long-range missiles. today, congressional leaders acknowledged that shutting down the guantanamo bay prison is not a priority n. answering the reporters' questions, house majority leader steny hoyer sited many items against closing it. it will not be discussed broadly in the near term. a government film in iran plans to make a movie about this scientist who returned home to iran last week. he says he was kidnapped by u.s. agents and semi-official state news agency reports that film student grads were hired to write that script, and he had messages that said he was voluntarily residing in the u.s., and that he was being held against his will. >> thank you, lisa. 24 years ago she gave a
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speech that has charged a racial firestorm here in the u.s. >> they want you the pull over to the side of the road and do it. because, you are going to be on glenn beck tonight. >> that is what her boss at the department of agriculture told her, and now she has lost her job and fighting to tell the rest of the story. she says that what officials missed was the critical context of her remarks. and we are also going to hear from some other key players, including the white farmer she allegedly discriminated against, but he is coming to her strong defense, plus her former boss, the agriculture secretary tom vilsack who is speaking out. he is defending his decision to fire her. >> sustainable practices to conserve -- v, camper and trailer insurance... ...as well as motorcycle insurance... oh...sorry, technical difficulties. boss: uh...what about this? gecko: what's this one do? um...maybe that one. ♪ (dance music plays)
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oil from the gulf disaster is not just impacting florida's beaches, but it is now also colliding with the state's closely watched u.s. senate race. and joining us now is marco rubio who is the republican candidate for the u.s. senate from florida and the former house speaker in florida. thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks for having me back. >> do you think it is a good idea what charlie crist, the governor, your rival, wants to get a constitutional amendment that would once and for all ban all offshore drilling off of the coast of florida. >> what is a good idea is to have a real special session to deal with the economic issues of the region, and offshore drilling is illegal in florida
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already. >> and they could change it if you have a constitutional amendment to bar it once and for all. >> and they can do it in a regular session, but the legislature was called in an extraordinary special session to waste the taxpayers' dollar to consider something that there is not a imminent threat about. and what the special session should have been about and he did not expand it to be is economic relief for florida, and luckily the senate president, and the leader of the house have said they will bring everybody back in september, to consider real economic relief like the policies that need to be changed >> and you left open the door of offshore drilling? have you refined your position? >> no, america needs a way to increase their production, and that is in the gulf region, and of course, i needs to be done safely, and there needs to be investigation of this accident so this never ever happens again. but if we do that, it is like imposing a oil embargo on ourselves. >> well, that is pretty unpopular position to not ban
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off shore drilling. >> well, they know that bp cut corners and led to this, but on the other hand, america needs a domestic energy component as part of the portfolio, and we can't keep depending on other countries to depend oil for us, and it makes us vulnerable. >> to have deepwater or shallowwater drills off of the coast of -- >> well, that is against the law right now in florida. we are talking about the federal laws. >> you are saying you could see that happening down the road? >> well, florida water? >> yeah. >> florida water is something that charlie crist supported four or five months ago and once this has happened, you won't see it in the near future and obviously, a cost benefit analysis and mature decision has to be made. nobody is advocating that we allow it to happen right now. >> you are not in favor of that. and let's talk about the most recent poll we have that has crist at 35%, and you at 28%, and kendrick meek at 17% who is the likely but not necessarily
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the certain democratic candidate, and why is charlie crist now come up as rapidly as he has, because as an independent candidate a lot of people were earlier writing him off? >> well, the numbers are not dissimilar to what we saw right after he switched. when i got into the race i was 35 points down in the republican primary and i have been here before and i now what it takes to get over it, and these polls in american politics, are everyday and everyone is doing one, but what we are doing is to lay out the things we believe in. here is what we know, in florida have a clear choice. if you like the way things are going here in washington, you have two people to vote for and it is not me. if on the other hand you want to send somebody up here to act as a check and balance on the direction of the congress and the administration is taking the country, i'm the only choice on the ballot. >> you don't think that charlie crist as a independent would have that check and balance? >> no, he is embracing the obama agenda, and today, he supports the obama care, and he flipped on sotomayor, and we don't know
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how he stands on elena kagan, but he would support her. >> and you think he is -- >> well, he has admitted that and said he has two phone conversations with harry reid to talk about his future in the u.s. senate. so obviously, those are questions that he has to answer, but all indications are, and i believe he will caucus with the democrats in washington and be a part of promoting the obama/reid/pelosi agenda. >> you were the darling of the party, and are you embracing that or moving out to that as you reach out to more moderates and centrists and democrats? >> well, the people in tea parties are everyday americans, and these labels of making people sound like extremists is what they do when they don't want to debate the issues, and what the people largely stand for in the tea parties is to foster a country where private sector can grow and eliminate government intervention. there needs to be something done in a serious way about the money being taken in.
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>> and when they say elements of the tea party are racist, and mark williams the former spokesman for tea party express is pushed aside, what goes through the mind? >> well, it is unfortunate that labels like that are used to label a vast majority of people, because most of the tea partiers are people who love their country and want to see the policies implemented at the highest levels of government to keep us strong. i have not seen that in the events i at the end. what i see are everyday walks of life from all party and -- >> well, you see the signs that spring up. >> well, the hate speeches are all up through politics. i saw george bush jeered at obama's inauguration at a total lack of taste, so i will not say that is every obama supporter. are those policies good for america? that is what i am interested in. >> would you tea party caucus
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with rand paul in kentucky or sharron angle a republican candidate in nevada, would you be part of a caucus? >> well, i don't know a need for that. if they feel a need or others feel a need, but i want to be part of a caucus to lower taxes in america, and create jobs for the private sector and creating environment for the private sector to grow and create prosperity. >> you see yourself move and support the democrats on certain pieces of legislation even though most of the republicans would walk away from it? >> well, if the republicans -- you know what, if the democrats propose extending the '01 and '03 tax cuts or lower the corporate taxes, and if they want to do that, i would support it. >> and most republicans would, too? >> but it is the policies i support, and for example, real policies to deal with the structural debt we are facing, and we are headed to grease-lighting speed of problems. i don't think that the congress
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is going to support the polic s policies. >> he is working hard to become a senator in florida. and she is make nog seing n of why she is out of the job. >> i had at least three calls telling me why the white house want med to resign. >> the politics of race coming up. we will hear from her, and stay with us, right here in "the situation room." ♪ they dreamt with their hands, and the world watched and waited with baited breath. while time has marched on and priorities have changed, it's nice to know america still builds rockets. [ engine revving ] ♪ the 2011 corvette... only from chevrolet. yeah. you must really care about him. what? no, no. you gave him fiber.
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it is an explosive and racially charged story that continues to develop by the hour an african-american woman forced to resign from her job at the department of agriculture over a speech she made 24 years ago. shirley sherrod's remarks were put out by a youtube excerpt of her speech. here is an excerpt. >> the fact that so many black people have lost their land, and here i was faced with helping a white person saving their land. so, i didn't give him the full force of what i could do. i did enough. so, i took him to a white -- with some of the training i had provided and i thought that if he went in there, his own kind would take care of him.
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well, the speech took place 24 years ago and sherrod says that the remarks were taken completely out of context. she says she went on to talk about in the speech about her change of heart and how she helped the white farmer keep his land. we are going to hear from all of the key players this hour, including the farmer, and exclusive remarks from the agriculture secretary tom vilsack who fired her. but first, here is sherrod herself telling cnn's tony harris how she was forced out. >> why are you out? >> why am i out? they asked me to resign. and in fact, they harassed me as i was driving back to the state office from west point, georgia, yesterday. i had at least three calls telling me that the white house wanted me to resign. >> so that the pressure came from the white house? >> and the -- and the last one asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it. >> you are willing to name names? >> and that is exactly what i did. >> are you willing to name names? >> i can tell you that was
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sheriff cook, the deputy undersecretary and she call med and said, because she called me and i said, cheryl, i have a 3 1/2 hour ride to get into athens, and she call med a seco -- call md ed me a second time andd where are you? and i said atlanta, and she said a third time, where are you? and they said, well, shirley, they want you to pull over to the side of the road and do it, because you are going to be on glenn beck tonight. >> wow. so, the administration pressured you out? >> yes. >> how do you feel about that? >> i don't feel good about it, because i know i didn't do anything wrong, and i know during my time at usda, i gave it all i had. i worked when i didn't feel like it. i pushed the staff to get out there and places they had not been into before. >> do you feel as though you had
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an opportunity to state your side of the story? >> no. i did not. the administration didn't -- they were not interested in hearing the truth. no one wanted to hear the truth. >> the naacp released a statement late last night saying in part that we are appalled by her actions. that is an opportunity to explain what happened 24 years ago, and do you feel as though you got that opportunity? even in a phone call -- >> no, i didn't. >> -- from the naacp? >> no, the naacp has not tried to contact me one time, and they are the reason this happened. they got into a fight with the tea party, and all of this came out as a result of that. >> the naacp initially called sherrod's actions shameful and you heard her refer to that, and tony asked her about that, but as more information has come out
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through the kous of the dcourse and lot of it coming out on cnn, the organization has reconsidered the position, and sent this statement, a dramatic reversal. we are guard to the media coverage of the resignation of sherly sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by fox news, and tea party activist andrew brei, thebart and -- according to the usda, sherrod's statements prompted her dismissal. while we understand why secretary vilsack understands this will impede her ability to function in the role, we urge him to reconsider. he says he will not reconsider and he wants her fired. right now, she is fired. the white farmer that she talked about in the controversial speech is now talking out in her defense passionately, and we will hear what he says, and we
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let's get some more now on the forced resignation of the usda, u.s. department of agriculture official over racially charged remarks she made in a speech, and remarks she says were taken completely out of context. we are digging deeper, and jessica yellin is here and john king is going to join us in a moment. i want to play a clip of what the secretary of agriculture tom vilsack told us about the decision to double-down and say she should be fire and remains
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fired, shirley sherrod. >> it is not a matter of condemning, and it is not a matter of understanding the full story, but the reality is that in creating the controversy, it jeopardizes the ability to do the director's job in a way that does not leave it open to judgments as to why you have made discretionary decisions as you v and it compromises your capacity to get that job done without people raising questions. i don't believe that this woman is a racist at all. this is about a judgment that she made in making a decision to talk about this in a way that created a controversy and made it more difficult for her to do his job. i didn't speak to anybody at the white house. i didn't speak to anybody in the white house and when i saw the statements and the context of the statements, i determined it is difficult for her to do her job as a rural director, and it would compromise our job to close the civil rights of getting the job done and people to work in georgia, and i did not want a controversy to make
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us turn the page. i made the decision and it is my decision and nobody at the white house contacted me at all. >> and tom vilsack saying, it is my decision and the white house had no role in the decision even though shirley sherrod told tony harris was told when she was told to resign, the impetus was come according to from the official that it came from the white house. >> well, her account makes it second and third-hand it was from the white house. what we know is that the usda did not need the white house to tell them this is a issue or problem. glenn beck has gone after and had two white house officials fired by targeting them and gone after a slew of others, and they know how the stories explode. we are in a tinderbox media situation regarding race right now, and it does in some ways creating a chilling effect. it is hard for people in government positions to talk honestly about race, because of all of this. but the bottom line is that we all know that the white house as much as they say they don't care
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about the cable chatter and don't follow it, they do, and they want to win each news cycle and the administration officials are aware of that. >> and it is not everyday, john, that we hear donna brazile, our cnn political contributor, and the democratic strategist say that the white house is wrong, and the administration is wrong, and she was critical of the naacp even though now the naacp is reversing itself and saying that the woman should not be fired. there's a lot of angry people right now. >> it is very clear that both the naacp and now apparently the secretary of agriculture made this decision without talking directly to the woman in question, and without looking at the full con ttext of her remar. wolf, a few moments ago we talked to a white house official who says they are unhappy how this was handled, and the white house is insisting nobody put pressure on secretary vilsack, by we know that secretary vilsack's office made clear that the video was posted a and the communication was that he was dealing with it, and the white house said okay. for now, they are stand big the
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decision, but it is evolving. >> and a little while ago, ines verrey caught up with the farmer she helped. >> i never knew what it was all about. she never made any show to me as if there was any white or black or what not involved whatsoever. in fact, we ate up there together, and everything. and, heck, you know, i spent six years in the navy, world war ii, and i met all kinds of people, and i never met a nicer person than her, you know, if you want to know the truth. >> pretty emotional statement, and it was a huge blunder i think first with the naacp and then the white house, and the administration to make these moves without even talking to
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this woman. >> well, it is a classic example of prejudging before you do your own investigation. the clips are released in the media so readily because of the access we have, that it is imperative that everybody really do their due diligence and research it. >> john, you had a chance to speak to andrew breitbart who posted this video, and i want to play a little clip of what he told you. >> this was not about sherly sherr -- shirley sherrod, but the naacp attacking the tea party and showing racism at a naacp event. i did not ask for shirley sherrod to be fired or any repercussions of shirley sherrod, and they took the initiative to get rid of her. i do not -- i think that she should have the right to defend herself, but what you see on the video are people in the audience at an organization whose sole job is to fight against discrimination, and they are applauding her overt racism that she is representing.
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>> he wrote a long blog post saying that the naacp and others on the left including some of the media were falsely accusing the tea party of being racist, and then it appears at this hour what he did was to take an out of context clip from this woman, and accuse her of racism. that if you follow what she says afterhand, she makes the turn where she says i was prejudice. prejudices were dictating my actions and i realized that and makes the and gives what is actually a very nuanced and interesting conversation about race. it's an interesting conversation. he has grievances the naacp -- excuse me. against the mainstream media, but he would not directly answer the question. she lost her job over this in part because of posting. >> can she get her reputation and job back? we'll see. we'll have more with the interview and a lot more on this coming up at the top of the hour. john, thanks very much. jack cafferty is coming up next. we'll be right back.
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wolf, the question this hour is it a good idea to build a mosque near grounds zero? a big ongoing controversy especially in new york.
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andy writes hell no. eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth. i haven't seen enough eyes or teeth yet. radical muslim eyes and teeth. darren in minneapolis writes in a couldn't that promotes and celebrates tolerance, freedom and diversity, i don't understand what the problem is. i want to know how big a muslim-free buffer zone around ground zero needs to be to make opponent happy? how far away? 20 blocks in 20 miles? muslims didn't attack us, terrorists did. comparing all muslims to terrorists is like comparing all christians to timothy mcveigh. bill writes no, the americans are still hurting. ground zero is sort of like the alamo of the new age. it's almost achieved the status of a shrine. so this is no different than building a christian church near a muslim holy site. all this points is that their
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war on terror is just what they claim it is, wear on the muslim religion. president bush made it clear from the start this was radical fundamentalist muslims that were the problem, and we seem to have gorten that fact. all religions have done terrible things throughout history and we don't see protests against them or where they decide to build their churches. even though our country is in the death grip of political krek correctness, this is probably one of the worst ideas. if it is built it will be a irritant and flash point for violence and mayhem. by choosing to follow their belief they're sanctioning death to all those that embrace any other so-called religion. t. in new jersey writes as a jewish-american i'm disgusted with right wingers have equate muslim to terrorism. tell the half-governor, sarah palin, she doesn't know what she's talking about yet again.
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if you didn't see the e-mail andment to read more on the subject visit my blog cnn.com/caffertyfile. wolf. >> thank you. a most unusual view is coming up next of whooey goldberg. >> you have hosted the oscars. >> yes. i'm chef michael,
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>> welcome to -- welcome to a day the hot topics here on "the view." >> next thing you knew, she was a hot topic. >> are you feeling all right, whoopi? i have to fly drugged, so i'm still slightly drugged. >> she said she just had flown in from a aids benefit in vienna. she's a fearful flyers who has to knock herself out to get on a plane. well, her plane may have landed, but whoopi still seemed high as she tried to master the teleprompter. >> there's a slow mif moving thing here that now says parents in massachusetts are angry that schools are sending students home -- >> "the view" had no comment when we called to ask what whoopi was on. a spokesman said she already explained everything. >> you know what's funny right now? the fact i'm still sitting up straight. >> it led to a truly memorable
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toss to commercial. >> i got a little gas. we'll be right back. >> could have been worse. at least whoopi was no david after the dentist still feeling the up anesthesia. >> why is this happening to me? is this going to be forever? >> at least whoopi was no joe namath. >> i want to kiss you. i couldn't care less about the team struggling. >> at least whoopi was no anna nicole smith. >> if i ever record a album, i want this guy to produce mine. >> at least whoopi chs no japanese finance minister falling asleep at his own press conference. at least whoopi was no farrah fawcett. >> sort of like they -- wow. i really thought i was looking out the window. >> yeah? >> at least whoopi had no window to distract her. not since danny devito came on hungover has "the view"

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